With so many incredible destinations all around the world to visit, sometimes it can be really difficult to decide which one to see next. While most of us would love to be able to travel more, or even spend our whole lives travelling, unfortunately this just isn’t always possible. We are here to lend a helping hand with advice and tips on which destinations should definitely be on your must see list this year. For us, Greece is an absolute dream destination that needs to be seen to be believed!
— Visit Greece (@VisitGreecegr) 2 February 2017
We can guess what you might be thinking though. You’ve seen so many travel shows or Greek cookery programmes that you think you already know Greece. Or perhaps you’ve got a picture in your head of overcrowded beaches and want to try somewhere a little more adventurous. Well there is a very good reason that Greece is such a popular place for tourists, TV programmes, magazine features and even movies such as Mamma Mia, it is absolutely gorgeous! This is no exaggeration, but Greece is one of those places that lives up to and exceeds expectations and best of all you don’t have to go anywhere near a packed beach if you don’t want, there is a plethora of secluded beaches where you really can get away from it all.
Greece is one of those places that really does have it all. It has a huge variety of different things to see and places to visit both on the mainland and across the numerous wonderful islands, ranging from bustling cities to calm countryside walks. The landscape and scenery is breathtakingly beautiful including mountains, forests, lakes and beaches, the food is healthy, diverse and absolutely delicious, there is a fascinating history and the culture is lively with warm and friendly people.
Breathtakingly beautiful landscapes
The landscape of Greece is anything but boring and instead evokes a true sense of wanderlust as it is so diverse and stunning. You may have a idea in your mind of beaches and olive groves and to a certain extent you would not be wrong; the landscape of Greece is so much more than this stereotypical vision though. If you decide to visit Greece in the winter you may even see some snow, but of course it’s still beautiful!
As well as the gorgeous olive groves you will find endless vines growing grapes for all the gorgeous Greek wine. In fact Greece is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world and the first in Europe, owing to the amazing growing conditions. Greece is famed for its wonderful warm sunny Mediterranean climate which really compliments all the fresh fruit and vegetables that are grown.
Much of Greece is also very mountainous with some stunning high altitude scenery which is great for taking an adventurous drive (if you’re brave enough), as you can enjoy some incredible views from the car and stop along the way for photographic opportunities. We warn you though that you will probably be tempted to stop countless times on your drives, but then who can blame you with views like this!
The Greek landscape is equally as great if you decide to go for a stroll rather than driving during your stay as you can experience wonderful peace and tranquility while surrounded by nature. There are verdant forests where often the only sound will be that of the birds singing. This is perfect if you want to get away from it all. Greece has a population of around 11 million people which is much less than many other European countries such as the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain so you can easily find peace and solitude as you explore the country.
You will also be surprised by the diversity of landscape and different terrains that are on offer in Greece, including lakes, waterfalls and rivers.
So many gorgeous beaches!
No article about Greece would be complete without mentioning the countless beautiful beaches that the country is blessed with. Despite the huge popularity of Greece as a tourist destination though you don’t have to put up with jam packed beaches as even in the summer months you can find your own secluded spot of heaven on earth.
This is because Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean basin and the 11th longest coastline in the world. There are also literally hundreds of Greek islands, of which 227 are inhabited. Those with inhabitants range from very large islands such as Crete which have many towns and cities, to tiny islands such as Palio Trikeri in the Pelion region which has a year-round population of just 15 people! This is a hidden gem and somewhere you can go if you’re looking to take that extra step to get away from it all!
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In Greece you will find beaches to suit every taste, from long sandy beaches with deckchairs to rent and plenty of bars and restaurants nearby, right through to others that are so remote that you can only reach them by boat. Whichever beaches you choose to spend your day from the bustling and lively through to the quiet and tranquil, you can almost be guaranteed of a great time and plenty of photo opportunities to make your friends back home jealous, even before they see your golden tan!
Fascinating history and culture
If you’re looking for a country with some fascinating history and culture, then there is almost no better place than Greece to head to! While it has unfortunately fallen on some harsher economic times as of late, it has so many claims to fame in terms of its importance of in both Western and global civilization and values.
It is considered by most historians to be the birthplace of Western civilization and it gave rise to democracy. As well this, Western philosophy, Western literature, historiography, political science, the Olympic Games, Western drama and major scientific and mathematical principles. It is even considered the country that gave rise to the concept of tourism, so it only seems fitting that you should visit Greece for yourself.
Throughout almost the entire country, you will find evidence of the incredible Greek civilisation that has given rise to modern day Greece filled with its rich cultural traditions and amazing architectural delights. This includes monuments, churches, ancient theatres and temples that will let you imagine how people used to live thousands of years ago, and how this history has shaped how we now live today.
There is probably no better place in Greece to discover the amazing historical stories and architecture that the country has to offer, than in Athens, Greece’s amazing capital and largest city. Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world with a recorded history spanning over 3,400 years. Its earliest human presence started somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennia BC! Despite now being a huge modern metropolis with a population of over 3 million people, it still retains a wide variety of ancient buildings, making it a fascinating city to explore. It is therefore well worth taking one of the many cultural tours and experiences in Athens.
— Visit Greece (@VisitGreecegr) 17 February 2017
Modern Greek culture has been shaped by a varied mixture of different influences from a number of different civilisations, including the Greek civilisation, then later the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires which all conquered Greece. Now of course Greece is an independent country but it retains many of the cultural influences in terms of art, music, architecture and food from these different empires.
Gastronomical delights in Greece
As mentioned earlier, because of the Mediterranean climate which has blessed Greece with warm summers and generally mild winters, it has excellent growing conditions for all manner of fresh fruit and vegetables. This has meant that Greek food doesn’t need to be made overly complicated to be delicious, because the quality and freshness of the ingredients used lead to delicious flavours and tastes. Even a dish as simple as a Greek salad with lettuce, juicy tomatoes, flavoursome Greek olives and crumbly feta cheese, drizzled with olive oil is better than many main meals in other countries and that is often just the side dish!
Greek cuisine is much loved around the world and when you actually visit the country you can easily see why as it tastes even better there. Because of the huge coastline, of course sea-food such as fish, squid and oysters play a big part in Greek dishes, but it is all the more special when you can sit and eat your meal sitting next to the ocean with the waves gently lapping the shore and the sun setting behind one of the neighbouring islands. What better way to compliment your meal than a delicious glass of Greek wine with your friends or family!
So many hidden gems
One of the best things about Greece is when you explore places where all the other tourists aren’t. This is a country that is perfect for taking a trip off the beaten track and making your own adventure. If you want to go to a regular beach for a week of sun, sand and sea then of course you can in Greece, but we would suggest if this is all you do for your week there then you’ve definitely missed out. If you rent a car for example you can reach remote beaches or locations where there are barely any other people or sometimes no one else at all.
You can also find wonderful quiet bars, cafes and restaurants that are off the usual tourist trail. You will more than likely be surrounded by locals and if that’s the case then you’ll know you’ve found somewhere great. Ultimately a holiday in Greece can be as relaxing or as adventurous as you want but we are more than certain that however you decide to spend your time there, you will fall in love with Greece!